Why hummingbirds hover and honeyeaters perch

Graham H. Pyke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence is presented in support of the suggestion that a hovering bird is able to move between flowers more quickly than one that is perching. This advantage to hovering may be offset, however, by the higher energetic costs of hovering as compared with perching. This trade-off is evaluated in two field situations, one for perching honeyeaters and the other for hovering hummingbirds. In each case it is estimated that the birds employ the foraging mode (hovering versus perching) that results in the greatest net rate of energy gain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes


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